ISSUES AT STAKE: Then along came Coco

Coco, aka 'Boss of the House'

FOR a large portion of my life, I believed people who form serious attachments to their animals are those individuals who battle to have proper relationships with fellow humans.

I suppose that might still hold in a few instances, but my opinion changed drastically when we inherited a mongrel dog called Coco – named by a grandson who is obsessed with food and especially his favourite breakfast cereal.

The grandkids had been to the SPCA in Ballito and just could not resist this pleading little face on ‘death row’.

They would bring him for weekend visits to Richards Bay and Coco (aka ‘Boss of the House’) eventually decided our yard was bigger, we were less strict, and the neighbourhood was much more fun. So we adopted him.

Best move ever!

Not that he is much use as a watchdog.

Other than cats, he does not have his slumber disturbed for any intruder.

He is also scared of the dark and of any loud noise, like the breaking of a glass window in the early hours of the morning.

I read once of a dog who slept through a house burglary, and then bit the policeman who came to investigate.

That’s Coco’s style.


But he is amazingly intelligent (if he could speak, he wouldn’t deign to talk to any of us), with a vocab of close to 20 words.

He will run to, or fetch, any of the following on hearing the words: ball, hamburger (a toy one), grannie’s socks, water, food, bed, collar, front (yard), back, car (if you add the word ‘beach’, he heads for the leash and harness behind the kitchen door), outside, inside, sit, saggies (yes, bilingual), down, and many more.

He also knows ‘Lindiwe’, our domestic worker, by name, and runs to meet and greet her when he hears her arrive.

Strangely, he ‘unfriends’ her and snaps at her heels when she leaves the premises – haven’t worked that one out.

He is also a fine cricket player. But only when it comes to fielding.

Hit the ball into an open space and he scurries at speed to pick it up and bring it to the wickets.

Admittedly, at times he takes detours of a few laps around the garden, thus preempting any chance of a run out.

He also has the tendency to stop, pee on the ball, then continue running with it in his panting mouth.

Best time of the day is when I come home from work.

He sees me, barks at the gate, then runs to tell wifey I’m home before reappearing with a ball (he has a vast selection) in his mouth, and wagging – not just his tail, but his entire body, from the ears backwards.

I eventually wear him out, or vice versa, and no matter how tough the day has been, it ends well.
Man’s best friend? You bet.

Dave Savides

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